It’s officially summer, as in officially too damn hot to cook out west where I live, so I’m thrilled to be sharing my actual menu plan for next week, which includes 5 weeknight meals for a heat wave. These are ideas you can use all summer long, and and hope it inspires you to keep that oven turned off too! So in an effort to help combat climate change in a small way and keep my cool, I am not planning on standing over the stove, near the stove, or even think about heating up my oven for the entire week.
And hey, if you’re planning meals for a heat wave, there is absolutely nothing wrong with letting your kids eat cold cereal for dinner.
(I would also prefer that “hot girl summer” not mean sweaty mom boobs.)
If you have other great hot weather recipes that I should know about please shoot me a message in our Recipe Rescue group on Facebook! I love to discover new recipes!
And be sure to check on your elderly neighbors this week — maybe they could use some of your no-oven meals too.
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5 meals to get you through a heat wave: Recipes that are oven-free, or no-cook at all
Turn on the grill…but not for long
Peaches are just coming into season, and I can not wait to make these Chili-Lime Tofu and Peach Skewers I discovered on Dishing Out Health, for this week’s #MeatlessMonday. The recipe is a super simple list of ingredients and it looks like it will come together in about 30 minutes.
Plus, the kabobs only stay on the grill for around 10 minutes, so you won’t be sweating it out over the heat for a long period of time.
I really don’t think you need much more than some cold watermelon slices on the side of this dish, but if your family has more of an appetite, I suggest grabbing a bag of frozen precooked rice that you can just heat up quickly in the microwave. (Or you can always do the NYC shortcut, according to Liz, and just pick up a side of cooked rice from your local Chinese, Japanese, or Thai restaurant.)
Cold soup season, yay!
I really do love gazpacho — and we have plenty of recipes for those of you who do too — but my family…not so much. So rather than serving up a traditional gazpacho, I am going to switch it up a bit and try this Watermelon Gazpacho recipe from Ali at Gimme Some Oven. Maybe the combination of sweet and savory will win my family over. If not, there is just more for me.
I have a strict policy that I only cook one meal for dinner, and if my kids choose not to eat it, there is always cold cereal or whatever’s in the fridge. In fact, I always keep deli fixings on hand so they can make themselves a sandwich.
If you’re a soup maker, my tip is to skip the bulky food processor if you can. Do you have a good blender on hand? If not, I want to share my very absolute favorite small appliance in my kitchen – this Ninja BL660 blender. My husband got one for me years ago, and it has held up so beautifully.
I know there are fancier, more expensive blenders out there (I have it on good word that this high-tech Panasonic Blender is like the Lexus of blenders) but I can personally recommend the Ninja based on the fact I use it daily and it has stalled, broken stuttered, or let me down in any way. It’s a serious workhorse.
A build-your-own sandwich board
Liz turned me on to this Build-Your-Own Chicken Salad Sandwich Board she found at The Baker Mama and I was instantly in love. DIY dinners and charcuterie boards are fan favorites – and how brilliant to combine the two? Maegan’s chicken salad recipe calls for both apples and red grapes — in my opinion, both key ingredients in a chicken salad. And I love the idea of even offering different kinds of breads, for pickier kids, gluten-free eaters, or adults who may be low-caring it.
Be sure you keep your family safe however if your home is warm or you’re eating outside on a very hot day; pay attention to how long you let foods sit out in the heat. If it is over 90 degrees, do not let a mayo-based salad like this one sit outside for more than one hour.
This 36″ board I recently bought from the RusticHut on Etsy is one of my very favorite charcuterie boards — now second only to the sweet Cher-cuterie board my sister surprised me with last week. I love that the round shape makes it easy to grab food from wherever you sit, but that it has a little rail that keeps everything from falling off when you carry it from the kitchen to the patio. The craftsmanship is excellent and worth every penny, if you need to stock up on some new serving plates.
Photo: Ty Mecham for Food 52
My most-requested meal for heat waves
Last week I shared my strawberry themed meal plan, and this Bacon Lettuce & Strawberry Sandwich by Emma LaPerruque on Food52 has been the number one most requested meal in my house for the past 7 days. I am not kidding. And based on what we’re seeing on Pinterest, it’s a huge hit with our followers too!
So one more sandwich for dinner during a heat wave? Why not!
I am making these BLS sandwiches again next week in a DIY dinner type set up, including some additions I have been playing with such as avocado, goat cheese, and tossing a little mint in with the strawberries. If you don’t want to heat up the stove to cook bacon, grab some precooked bacon or look for cooked bacon in the hot case at your local market.
A satisfying salad with the season’s best produce
As I mentioned above, we are tiptoeing into peach season here in Oregon, and that also means I am seeing tomatoes at my local farmer’s market! This beautiful Peach and Tomato Caprese Salad from The Modern Proper is a perfect no-cook meal that takes advantage of all the fresh bounty offered this time of year. I will be devouring ours with a loaf of crusty bread and a rosé cocktail or two (because I am just barely over 21 of course).
If you need a little more protein in the meal for teenagers with bottomless pit stomachs, I suggest grabbing a store-bought rotisserie chicken or firing up the bbq for some easy grilled chicken breasts.
Follow our Weekly Meal Plan Ideas for Families board on Pinterest @CoolMomEats for even more ideas!
Top Image: Photo by Luis Graterol on Unsplash